Of Selfishness and Wine-Tasting

I spent the evening with two co-workers tonight. We brought wine, talked and watched a stupid movie (I won’t embarrass myself by saying what it was. I’ve already embarrassed myself enough today.) And for some reason, when I arrived home I started to think about selfishness.

The wine we had wasn’t very good. Shame. I had high hopes, but I’m such a wine-snob that at times it’s hard to please me. Am I that way in the rest of my life? Probably.

My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds; my neighbors stay far away.

-Psalm 38:11

Am I so wounded that people stay away? Is it selfish of me to ask them to stay?

Whenever I asked myself these questions, I try to ask myself if I had a friend who acted like I do, would I stay? Fight or flight? Would it be worth it? (That alone is a selfish question.)

It is hard to please me. And the selfishness in me simply asks, “So? Why is that so bad?” I hold myself to a high standard, why is it so bad to do the same for others? If I taste too much oak in a wine, I put the glass down and make a mental note to not buy it again. I guess I can’t exactly do that with people, can I? I think some people do – they weigh the pros and cons to see if the benefits of the relationship will outweigh the work it takes to put into it. Is that okay to do? It doesn’t feel like it. But can we live purely selfless lives? I believe she did. Is it something innate in us – like a moral sense of right and wrong can be? Is it something to be cultivated and, after years and years of pruning, can only then be achieved?

In my journey to restoration, selflessness hasn’t reached me yet. In fact, when others behave with disregard to those around them, I self-righteously say “How can they be that selfish?” That sin continues to punch holes through my spirit and I fear I may never be made whole. Because, as always, “Be perfect, therefore as I am perfect…” will forever be my Everest. (Thanks to a conversation I had in the restroom of the Estes Park Community Church the summer of 1995. Yes, I mean you, Angela.)

What I’m listening to: Grant Lee Phillips’ Virginia Creeper

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